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would wish "a minstrel's' malison were said.”Leixlip, though about seven miles only from Dublin, has all the sequestered and picturesque character that imagination could ascribe to a landscape a hundred miles from, not only the metropolis but an inhabited town. After driving a dull mile (an Irish mile) in passing from Lucan to Leixlip, the road, hedged up on one side by the high wall that bounds the demesne of the Veseys, and on the other by low enclosures, over whose rugged tops you have no view at all, at once opens on Leixlip Bridge, at almost a right angle, and displays a luxury of landscape on which the eye that has seen it even in childhood dwells with delighted recollection.-Leixlip Bridge, a rude but solid structure, projects from a high bank of the Liffey, and slopes rapidly to the opposite side, which there lies remarkably low. To the right the plantations of the Veseys' demesne--no longer obscured by walls—almost mingle their dark woods in its stream, with the opposite ones of Marshfield and St. Catharine’s. The river is scarcely visible, overshadowed as it is by the deep, rich and bending foliage of the trees. To the left it bursts out in all the brilliancy of light, washes the garden steps of the houses of Leixlip, wanders round the low walls of its churchyard, plays with the pleasure-boat moored under the arches on which the summer-house of the Castle is raised, and then loses itself among the rich
woods that once skirted those grounds to its very brink. The contraston the other side, with the luxuriant vegetation, the lighter and more diversified arrangement of terraced walks, scattered shrubberies, temples seated on pinnacles, and thickets that conceal from you the sight of the river until you are on its banks, that mark the character of the grounds which are now the property of Colonel Marly, is peculiarly striking.
Visible above the highest roofs of the town, though a quarter of a mile distant from them, are the ruins of Confy Castle, a right good old predatory tower of the stirring times when blood was shed like water; and as you pass the bridge you catch a glimpse of the waterfall, (or salmon-leap, as its called,) on whose Hoon-day lustre, or moon-light beauty, probably the rough livers of that age when Confy Castle was “a tower of strength,” never glanced an eye or cast a thought, as they clattered in their hardess over Leixlip Bridge, or waded through the stream before that convenience was in existence.
Whether the solitude in which he lived contributed to tranquillize Sir Redmond Blaney's feelings, or whether they had begun to rust from want of collision with those of others, it is impossible to say, but certain it is, that the good Baronet hegan gradually to lose his tenacity ia political matters; and except when a Jacobite friend came to dine with
him, and drink with many a significant “nod and beck and smile," the King over the water ;-or the parish-priest (good man) spoke of the hopes of better times, and the final success of the right cause, and the old religion ;-ora Jacobite servant was heard in the solitude of the large mansion whistling “ Charlie is my darling," to which Sir Redmond involuntarily responded in a deep base voice, somewhat the worse for wear, and marked with more emphasis than good discretion ;-except, as I have said, on such occasions, the Baronet's politics, like his life, seemed passing away without notice or effort. Domestic calamities, too, pressed sorely on the old gentleman : of his three daughters, the youngest, Jane, had disappeared in so extraordinary a manner in her childhood, that though it is but a wild, remote family tradition, I cannot help relating it:
The girl was of uncommon beauty and intelligence, and was suffered to wander about the neighbourhood of the castle with the daughter of a servant, who was also called Jane, as a nom de caresse. One evening Jane Blaney and her young companion went far and deep into the woods; their absence created no uneasiness at the time, as these excursions were by no means unusual, till her playfellow returned home alone and weeping, at a very late hour. Her account was, that, in passing through a lane at some distance from the castle, an old woman, in the Fingallian dress, (a red petticoat and a long green jacket,) suddenly started out of a thicket, and took Jane Blaney by the arm : she had in her hand two rushes, one of which she threw over her shoulder, and giving the other to the child, motioned to her to do the same. Her young companion, terrified at what she saw, was running away, when Jane Blaney called after her—" Good bye, good bye, it is a long time before you will see me again.” The girl said they then disappeared, and she found her way home as she could. An indefatigable search was immediately commenced-woods were traverşed, thickets were explored, ponds were drained,--all in vain. The pursuit and the hope were at length given up. Ten years afterwards, the housekeeper of Sir Redmond, having 'remembered that she left the key of a closet where sweetmeats were kept, on the kitchen-table, returned to fetch it. As she approached the door, she heard a childish voice murmuring-" Cold-cold-cold-how long it is since I have felt a fire !”-She advanced, and saw, to her amazement, Jane Blaney, shrunk to nalf her usual size, and covered with rags, crouching over the embers of the fire. The housekeeper Hew in terror from the spot, and roused the servants, but the vision had fled. The child was reported to have been seen several times afterwards, as diminutive in form, as though she had not grown an inch since she was ten years of age, and always crouch
ing over a fire, whether in the turret-room or kitchen, complaining of cold and hunger, and apparently covered with rags. Her existence is still said to be protracted under these dismal circumstances, so unlike those of Lucy Gray in Wordsworth's beautiful ballad :
Yet some will say, that to this day
She is a living child-
Upon the lonely wild;
And never looks behind ;
That wbistles in the wind.
The fate of the eldest daughter was more melancholy, though less extraordinary; she was addressed by a gentleman of competent fortune and unexceptionable character : he was a Catholic, moreover; and Sir Redmond Blaney signed the marriage articles, in full satisfaction of the security of his daughter's soul, as well as of her jointure. The marriage was celebrated at the Castle of Leixlip; and, after the bride and bridegroom had retired, the guests still remained drinking to their future happiness, when suddenly, to the great alarm of Sir Redmond and his friends, loud and piercing cries were heard to issue from the part of the castle in which the bridal chamber was situated.